Overdoses drop amid new drug worries

Manhunt underway in carfentanil case

NASHUA – April saw the lowest opioid-related overdose totals in the city since February 2015, with 13 total overdoses recorded for the month, as a nationwide manhunt has started for the Manchester man linked to a deadly new drug.

“A very encouraging month,” said Chris Stawasz, with American Medical Response, the city’s ambulance service.

The 13 overdoses, of which two were fatal, for Nashua comes as Manchester is seeing a surge in overdoses and fatalities. Manchester had 94 overdoses in April, of which 10 were fatal. Those grim numbers coincide with the first appearance in New Hampshire of the powerful synthetic opioid carfentanil.

“Over 300 milligrams of pre-hospital Narcan was administered during the month,” Stawasz said. “That’s a record amount of Narcan by far and indicative of a very powerful opioid on the streets there that requires a large amount of Narcan to break through the opioid.”

At least three overdose deaths last month have been linked to the drug that is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, and two of those deaths happened in Manchester. Carfentanil, like fentanyl, can be absorbed through the skin, posing a danger for the first responders who are tasked with helping during overdose medical emergencies.

Ambulance crews are taking extra precautions, and carrying Narcan kits set aside just for the first responders, in case they become overcome by the drugs at the scenes.

Manchester police, along with agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, executed a search warrant at the 50 Sentinel Court home in Manchester of Preston Thorpe, 24, also known as “P.”

Police found trace amounts of carfentanil in the home, and they suspect Thorpe is heading for California. He may be traveling with a woman, Ashley Arbogast, 28, police said.

Thorpe is described as 6 feet, 3 inches, 210 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He has a sleeve-style tattoo on his right arm and hand, and a large tattoo on his left forearm.

Arbogast is described as 5 feet, 1 inch, 156 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She has tattoos on her left arm and hand.

Thorpe may be driving a newer Audi A4 2.0 T. The car had a temporary license plate number of 2089050. He also had a 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer registered to him, but it is unknown if he still owns the vehicle. The Mitsubishi is listed as New Hampshire registration 4023461.

Thorpe is wanted on a charge of possession of carfentanil.

There is a cash reward for information that leads to his arrest. Manchester police can be called at 792-5430, or call the Manchester Crimeline at 624-4040.